If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
BY MIKE AVITT
At the Mount Ayr High School Reunion a few weeks ago, Connie (Ryan) Ferguson approached me with a request. Her Class of 1969 would celebrate their fifty year reunion with a walking tour of the Mount Ayr square and would I go along and identify every business as they were in 1969. I thought it was a great idea and I agreed.
There were many businesses off the square as well and I would like to point those out, too, although I might require an ice cream cone to walk that far, but we can discuss my nutritional needs at that time.
The south side of the square has changed the least and is the only side of the square not to lose a building in the last fifty years. And, in fact, it gained one. Mt. Ayr Parts, an auto parts store, moved into its new building in 1983. The Princess Theatre and Skelly Station have both been restored.
The west side of the square has lost one building since 1969, that being 105 S. Fillmore. It was torn down to make way for the drive-up service at Security State Bank. Older photos of the west side are very hard to find.
The north side has lost three buildings, the Timby at 116 W. Madison, the Collins at 118 W. Madison, and the Huggins & Saville at 120-122 W. Madison. The north side is the most photographed and documented of all the sides of the square.
The east side of the square has lost all its buildings except two in the last fifty years. The two original buildings are both more than 120 years old.
The courtyard has many features that are less than fifty years old. The shelter house was built in 1972 – I remember the construction. Several things are gone now; the old phone booth, the band stand on the southwest corner, the elm trees, and the park benches. Remember those?
North Taylor Street, which was called Depot Street in the old days, has lost only five buildings between the square and the depot since 1969. Two were gas stations, one was a produce house, one was a shoe repair shop, and one was built as a post office, but had a barber shop in it most of its existence. I just thought of another one, the fertilizer warehouse south of the depot.
If any other class reunions want to do something similar, I’ll try to make myself available.
This week’s photo comes courtesy of the Mount Ayr Public Library. They have many treasures there.